Home Alone - Libertyville,IL

Updated on August 22, 2009
P.F. asks from Libertyville, IL
8 answers

My son is 10. I have just started leaving him home alone for about an hour maybe a little more (if his behavior has been responsible). What do you all think about when kids are home alone? Our home rules are no one else over and he doesn't go anywhere. Am I being overprotective?

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answers from Chicago on

It really depends on the kid. One of mine would be fine doing this at 10, it would be better to wait longer with another one of my kids.

Mine can't answer the door or even the phone (unless it's me) and nobody can come over. My kids are also not allowed to go to someone's house if their parents aren't home.

You have all the guidelines in place, just keep reminding him of the rules every now and then.

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answers from Springfield on

You are totally right! I started letting my 10 year old son come home after school this year too. I am still jittery about it and our rules are the same as yours and the previous posters. NOBODY is allowed in or out til I get home and he must call from the house phone the minute he walks in the door. He is probably here for a little over an hour by himself.
Actually I feel better knowing that someone else is letting their 10 year old come home by themselves! Thank You!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No you are not being over protective. I think you are being a good, responsible parent and feel that these rules are what is right for your family. My mom started leaving me alone around the age of 9 but those days were different (now 33). Neighbors were like family and everyone watched out for everyone. I happen to agree with your rules.

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answers from Chicago on

Your not being over protective. If he is a responsible 10 then staying home for an hour is not out of line. But the rules should be exactly what you have stated. He stays home with the doors locked. Don't answer the phone, no friends over and he can't leave. My son is 14 and we have had those same rules for a few years now. It has only been this year when he turned 14 that he has been allowed to run up the road to the gas station alone. I would stick to your guns with the rules.

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answers from Chicago on

I do not think you are overprotective. First of all if you don't want your son going out that is your choice. My son was 10 when I started leaving him home alone afterschool also. I was home about 20 minutes later. He had to call me when he got in the house and make sure the door was locked and closed. No one in the house and he couldn't go anywhere until I came home. He is now 13 and ther is still no one in the house while I am not there. He has just started to be able to go to a friends house or ride his bike, but I still want him to call when he leaves and when he gets back. There are too many things that go on today and since I am not so close to the house I want to be sure he is safe. Go with what you feel is right.



answers from Chicago on

I think 10 years old is great. As far as being overly protective, I'm amused... I have an 11 year old boy and a few more rules than what's on your list:

No cooking/toasting/microwaving

No showers or baths (if I have to run out in the evening).

No answering doors.

When he walks in from school, if I'm not home, he calls me, usually within less than 10 minutes.

No going outside & playing - unless I approve the neighbor's home. Then, I call the neighbor to make sure mom is home and is it okay to have my son there. This is a nice balance that I do have in my neighborhood. We all reciprocate.

No answering the phone unless he knows the caller.

No one can come over to play.

We started out in short increments but he's proven he's mature to stay home for a few hours, if need be, which doesn't happen often. And he likes the freedom. If there is ever bad weather, he knows to put the dog in the basement and go to the approved neighbor's home. I also have a cell phone, on me, so that he can stay connected, if need be.

Also, one of your posts brought up a good point - my son cannot go to a friend's home who has a babysitter, whether I am home or not. Parent (s) needs to be home. We've run into this issues with some concerns so I had to nip that.

Good luck to you.



answers from Chicago on

I think IL law requires parents to exercise judgment about the minor's capabilities, remain accessible to the minor, and make a "good faith effort" to protect minors under age 14. If kids younger than 10 are being left for a whole work day with free reign of the neighborhood, those parents might have some difficulty proving "good faith effort." Even if no crime was ever committed against these children, the parents could be in trouble just for putting their kids at risk.

Sucks that the law has anything to say about our parenting. Who are the parents here, us or the government? I could rant all day about this, so I'll stop now.


answers from Chicago on

My mom used to leave me and my sister home alone in the mornings before school for a half hour and in the afternoon for about an hour starting when we were 10 and 7. We were not allowed to have anyone over. By the time we were 12 and 9, we were allowed to ride our bikes to the local pool during the summer (it was just through the school grounds and about 1 mile away). That being said, I am just not sure in this day and age (I am now 31, sister is 28 and this was central suburban Pennsylvania not near Chicago) that I would leave a kid under 13 home alone. We will see when the time comes (mine are an infant and a toddler presently). I think you shoud only do what you are comfortable with and make sure he knows these are your rules and you won't be swayed by peer pressure over what everyone else's parents are doing. Go with your gut! Best wishes!

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